When Jaromír Jágr began playing in the NHL at 18 with rock star hair (which later prompted the slogan Fear the mullet) back in 1990, few knew the talented player would still be playing more than a quarter of a century later. Not only that, but that he would be one of the best to have ever played the game, behind only the Great One Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe on goals. Jágr turned 45 on Wednesday and the future Hall of Famer is showing no signs of slowing down.
Jaromír Jágr, the greatest Czech player in the history of ice hockey’s NHL, turned 45 on Wednesday. Jágr, who made his Czech league debut in 1988 at the age of 16, is the fifth oldest player ever to take to the ice in the NHL and has the league’s second highest points tally. The forward, who is hugely popular in the Czech Republic, has picked up two Stanley Cup rings and won gold at the Olympics with the Czech Republic in 1998.
In Sports News this Monday: a sobering defeat for the Czechs in the Davis Cup; a strong women’s team prepares to face Spain in the Fed Cup; second in Bulgaria and second in World Cup rankings for snowboard cross’s Eva Samková; and in ice hockey, Sparta Prague seek to overturn the Swedes on home ice in the Champions Hockey league final.
In ice hockey, three newcomers have been nominated for the Czech national squad to take part in the Swedish Hockey Games in Gothenburg. The three include forwards Vladimír Růžička junior of Chomutov and Petr Jelínek of Liberec as well as back Lukeš Klok of Vitkovice. Czech participation starts on February 9 with a match against Sweden. Russia and Finland also take part in the games.
In ice hockey, Sparta has booked a place in the Champions League final after beating Sweden’s Vaxjo Lakers in the return home leg on Wednesday night in front of a record crowd of 12,136. Sparta won 4:0 after already edging Vaxjo in the away match 2:1. Sparta will face another Swedish team, Frolunda, in the final which will be played in the Swedes home town of Gothenburg.
This Tuesday marks 80 years that the first match was held in the country’s first national hockey league. The teams Sparta Prague and Vítkovice faced off on a natural ice rink in Ostrava-Vítkovice. Forward Vilém Kubečka scoring the very first goal but Sparta came back to tie it. For much of the month, the league, now known as the Extraliga, will be celebrating the anniversary.
In Sports News this Monday: Good start to year for Czech women tennis players, with Šafářová, Siniaková and the Plíšková sisters all racking up wins in their first matches of 2017; Dakar Rally has 24 Czech participants; Slavia beat Sparta in annual old boys’ game; and Havlát to make dramatic return for Brno?
In ice hockey, the Czech team lost 2:3 after extra time against Denmark in the World Junior Championships being hosted in Montreal, Canada. The Czechs twice went ahead in the game at the start. The second close loss in a row following defeat against Switzerland leaves the Czech team on five points and it is uncertain whether they will proceed in the tournament.
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